Journey: 72 Hour Retreat (Post 1)

so it is almost one in the morning and we just got done with the first “master builder” production and we JUST finished the first worship set. it was awesome! we sung a lot about who we are and who God is. the place definitely exploded when we sung misty edwards “always on my mind” song.

the production tonight was amazing! i snuck into the audience during the middle of it and it literally put me into tears. it was the part where Jesus is being beaten during the song that is taken completely from isaiah 53. it was so beautiful…and terrible…cause it ruined you to see the extent that He was in love with us. it was really moving!

this year’s tent theme is “journey” and for the next year God will be showing us and talking to us about what journey is. but i also believe He is going to majorly download to us during this 72 hours…so i am going to go and seek/soak in Him. i’ll type some more about the tent and what’s going on tommorow afternoon or so.

like we sung tonight..”He is faithful to complete that which He started.”

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Revival Cities (Part 1)

this is a repost from the old delandhop site…it is part one of my thesis that God’s eternal desire has been set on cities, governments and global places instead of churches… (also it will contain my beliefs about the future of deland)

“We have seen what happens when God falls on a church, but we have yet to see what happens when He falls on a city.” – Tommy Tenney

That is a quote from Tommy Tenney, a revivalist and author of the best-selling book “The God Chasers”. The quote itself comes from a dream he had about two people talking in an airport. They were discussing this new place that was in full scale revival…except they weren’t talking about a church. They were talking about a city. In his dream, Tommy is leaning over trying to hear what the name of the city is but he wakes up before he can hear it.

“Impossible” you say? Why? Too long, many churches have had a theology that limits the fullness of God to being poured out in a church…only concentrated within a large group of believers. We have taken the idea of “I will pour out My Spirit on all fresh” (Acts 2:17) and have limited to “Christian flesh”. The idea of the Spirit of God falling on unsaved masses makes many church people’s stomachs turn. But it shouldn’t be. In fact, after Peter preaches about Jesus and the Spirit in Acts 2…3000 people get saved, baptized and filled with the Spirit. The next day, 5000 are added to the church. Later on in Acts, the Pharisees declare that the disciples have “turned the city upside down”. The entire town is transformed. Then another town called Antioch is converted and it keeps going from city to city.

Many of the epistles are written to the church IN A CITY. When Jesus speaks to the seven churches in Revelation, He addresses the angel (messenger) to the church IN A CITY. At that time, there was no separation from God’s move in a church to God’s move in a city. The point of the great commission was to start in Jerusalem (a city), Judea (a city), Samaria (another city) and to the uttermost parts of the earth. If you follow that formula…He means cities! A main goal in the church has always been to bring a city to salvation…but sadly throughout time we have lost the original focus of the apostles. We are happy just to church plant…to help our stats in different areas. We are shocked when missionaries tell us that an area doesn’t have a church…but we don’t feel anything when we realize that a nation has not one city that is totally transformed by the Spirit of God!

How does this make you feel? What do you think about the thought that God desires cities to experience His Spirit and not just churches? What would it look like if an entire city were to experience the fullness of “revival?”

Please feel free to comment. It would be a good discussion to have. ūüôā

A Word Of Wisdom…On Knowledge

so i haven’t gotten a chance to post this week due to being sick but i wanted to post a thought i had yesterday. it really fits into theTAGseries that i’ve been posting about.

due to being sick (and my own sinful flesh filled nature), my personal time with God has been almost non-existent this week. i really have slacked on my devotional time and what’s worse is i’ve been developing this attitude this week of “i don’t care”…you know…totally pushing off any conviction that God many place on my heart.

so yesterday, i was listening to “o for a thousand tongues to sing” on the new david crowder band album (don’t ask me why i have it early…lol) and the third verse really resounded in my spirit…

Jesus, the name that charms all fears
that bids our sorrows cease
tis music in the sinner’s ear
tis life and health and peace

when i heard the third line of the verse, i felt God speak to me about my pursuit of knowing who God is and what He is like. He said “when it comes to the theology of Me that you are building, is it something that will make you run to me in times of backsliding or is it something that will make you keep pushing me away? is what you think of Me a sweet melody that will draw you back to Me?” i realized that when Jesus spoke and talked about Himself, the Father and the kingdom… prostitutes and thieves wanted to run to Jesus and accept Him and be part of that kingdom He was talking about. but yet when it comes to “all i know of God”, i’m not drawn to leave my sin and complacency for Him…so maybe i’m not seeing Jesus that way i need to.

that’s really something to think about…

Quote Of The Week

talking about christianity:

“…(it) is a religion of time aiming at the sanctification of time. unlike the space-minded man to whom time is unvaried, iterative, homogeneous, to whom all hours are alike, qualitiless, empty shells, the Bible senses the diversified character of time. there are no two hours alike. every hour is unique and the only one given at the moment, exclusive and endlessly precious. – abraham joshua heschel

theTAGseries: Part 5 (Pause)

to read the previous posts of theTAGseries (the thinking about God series)…click here¬†

so it’s been a couple weeks since the last post. that means we’ve had a couple weeks to start asking God questions about who He is and what He is like. (i encourage you that if you haven’t…there’s no time better to start than right now.)

so what have you heard? is anything you’re hearing making sense? is it profound to your spirit and mind or is it stuff you’ve “heard before”? the answer to those questions i just asked are the subject of this part of the series.

if you are like me, then this is what’s happening right now. you decided to ask God a question about Himself and either (1.) you didn’t hear anything, (2.) you keep thinking your “making up answers” or (3.) He spoke to you something that you “already knew”. so now you are like “so what do i do now?” so let’s talk about each of those issues:

1. you haven’t heard anything yet
the keyword to that reply is the word “yet”. like we talked about in part 3, questioning and thinking about God takes time…a lot more than it takes to just move on and give up. that’s why this part of the series is called “pause”. many times we ask God a question and don’t stick around LONG ENOUGH to hear the answer. notice i didn’t say “we don’t stick around”. we all know that we have to take some time to listen back for a reply from God, but how much time is enough? here is the answer to that question: when you get a reply back from God! lol¬† what if God wants you to stay in a “pause” for a whole year to get an answer from Him? you’re thinking “why in the world would He do that?” but there is something we don’t understand about God…

what we don’t understand is that we are called to know the unknowable. we are allowed to seek and search out things about God that have remained mysteries for ages. though He is completely foriegn to us, He invites us to live with Him and get to know Him better. now under that understanding…do i really think that finding an answer to a question i had about God is just a 10 second thing? isn’t spending long periods of time worth the infinite treasure that is offered to us if we keep on seeking for it? so i encourage you, if you haven’t heard from God yet…keep asking, seeking and knocking. (there’s a promise from Jesus Himself that if we do that we will have the answer, we will find and the door [to revelation] will be opened)

2. my mind is “making up answers”
i would venture to say that most of that in your head is probaly God speaking to you. now when it comes to our theology of God, we never want God some opinion of our mind. wrong thinking about God has hurt the church for centuries. so i would challenge you to read scripture and look for confirmation of what you’re hearing. if your question was “how do You feel about arabs?” and you heard in your mind “I hate them” then that was your mind and not God cause He declares that He loves the world, shows no partiality and desires all to be saved. i challenge you to look up keywords through concordances or online bible tools. that way you can see if the few words or phrases are acually literally in the Bible. if they are not, then start reading and look for the “spirit of the Word”. (meaning the thought structure) i really encourage you to ask God to show you where “what you heard in your head” is in the Bible. you’ll be surpised how quick you might find it!

3. the answer was something you “already knew”
this is the one i find myself in many times. the real problem exists that we are dull to the fantastic truths of God. when God says something (so-called) simple like (for example) “I love you”…we just throw that out cause we think we understand what that means. but according to ephesians 3, the love that God shows us is BEYOND COMPREHENSION! so it becomes a battle to lose the dullness in our lives to the “simple” truths of God.

there are ways to help you out in that battle. if you hear an answer like “I love you”, ask God to show you HOW He loves you. ask Him to talk to you about how He feels about loving you. think about God’s love in it’s entirety (from pre-creation to present/future). make sure you get a FULL answer. many times we concieve a revelation from God but don’t give it the time to birth a change and wonder in our spirits. we have too many pre-mature births in the church when it comes to the knowledge of God. i encourage you to take some time and think about the answer He gave you and it’s implications. start asking Him questions about the answer He gave you. settle for nothing less than the fullness of the answer. He longs to tell us the whole thing, He just wants to see how long we will stay to get it.

are there any issues that you are facing when it comes to thinking about God that i didn’t get to talk about? if not, did the post make sense and help? what did God say when you went back and questioned Him again?

Songwriting: Part 2 (Structures)

click¬†here to read all posts from the songwriting series…¬†

so you feel persuaded enough to write a song? good. as we talked about it the last post, the world doesn’t need “another song”, they need something that causes impact in their lives…both memorable and powerful. so you have decided to write a song that will impact people…now what? well, you need to decide what kind of structure your song is going to have. there are many different kinds but i’ll simplify them into a few. (note: i am going to talk about christian structures in music and church, but it is all still relevant for writing a¬†secular song)

1. the anthem
this kind of song was really popular during the 80s and 90s. the jist of this structure is that it only has a verse (if it’s lucky) and a chorus. it’s something really repetitive yet worshipful. examples include “in the presence of Jehovah”, “shout to the Lord” (yes, i put it here), “give thanks”, etc.¬†¬† what is interesting about the anthem structure is that any song has the possibility to become an anthem. the song “awesome God” is a great example. the song has several verses (and i think a bridge?) but all that people know and sing is the short chorus. is that what rich mullins wanted when he wrote it? probably¬†not, but ultimately, it is up to the listener to determine how much of the song impacts them. if you want more examples of this, just think of any song (done by anyone anywhere) that only the chorus (or bridge) is sung. (sometimes it’s the only “memorable” part of the song)

2. the hymn
believe it or not, you would be surprised how many songs (especially nowadays) fit into this structure. hymns can come in a couple different ways. either they have all verses (and that’s it), or they have many verses with the same chorus (and nothing else). many times the chorus will be the “so” factor of the song. (like the verses are the “causes” and the chorus is the “effect”) one of the most popular hymn-structured songs out right now is “you raise me up”. others include “any hymn in the hymn books” (lol), “in Christ alone” (the new one…the old one became an anthem), etc. when it comes to the hymn structure…words are very important. in fact, that’s why this structure is used…to communicate a lot of deep things in a musical way. it is any wonder why theology and patriotism use this structure as the cornerstone of their songs?

3. the contemporate
this one i had to find a name for. this is the most used and most popular form of songwriting. in fact, most people who just write with no purpose in mind will write in this structure. the basic form of the contemporate structure is a couple verses, a chorus and a really awesome bridge that ties the song together. they can also include: pre-choruses, endings, secondary choruses, intros, etc. (and those are all singing parts…when it comes to the instrumentation…anything goes…lol) the problem with this one is, because of people writing with no purpose in mind, the market is flooded with cheap worthless piles of these kind of songs. so it’s harder to make these kind of songs stand out and impact people cause people naturally tune them out (or at least some do).

so although most people will still write in the contemporate style, i challenge you to think about it a little before you write. what is the purpose of your song? singablitity and memorable? then start writing a chorus…that could be an anthem. then write the rest after you have an awesome chorus. is it to share deep thought or theology in life? then think about setting it up as a hymn which allows people to focus on a cause and effect.

and if you still want to write in the contemporate style, then in the next few posts, i (and a friend) will be talking about how to better write in that structure. i had to take these last two posts and give some foundation and insight into songwriting, even if it may not apply to everyone.

what did you think of these structures? do you have any examples of each where they are used? have you written anything in an “anthem” or “hymn” structure? please feel free to respond.

Quote Of The Week

regarding the “world” of christianity:

the real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. the commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. it looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait. – gk chesterton